Archive for Anime

Anime Review: Ponyo

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

I remember back when I first laid eyes on a Miyazaki film. It was in early 2003 just after Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture. Disney had decided to re-release the movie into theaters for a couple of weeks before they released it onto DVD. So a couple of my high school buddies and I made the trip to some remote art house theater somewhere in Jersey to see what all the hubbub was about.

What I saw was one of the most incredible films ever created. Miyazaki had managed to create such a wonderful world full of Japanese traditions, spectacular imagery, and childish wonderment. And in the film’s climax when the two leads are flying together in the air, I was bawling my eyes out over the beauty of it all.

I was truly blown away from the film and have been desperately trying to find that same awesomeness with Miyazaki’s other works. I really enjoyed films like My Neighbor Totoro, Porco Rosso, and Princess Mononoke on DVD, but they still didn’t quite speak to me the way that Spirited Away did. And when I went to the US premiere of Howl’s Moving Castle back in 2005, I found that the film’s extremely cheesy ending ruined whatever momentum it had going for it.

Well, I’m now beginning to think that Spirited Away might have been Miyazaki’s last great film. His newest one set for release in America this Friday, Ponyo, turns out to be his biggest disappointment yet.

Manga Review: Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu

Monday, August 10th, 2009

NOTE: This post contains profanity and depictions of fictional nudity. If you are offended by such things, please do not read.

Junko Mizuno’s Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu is the story of Pelu. He is not a dog. He is not a cat. He’s a puffy creature from an alien planet who lives with a carnivorous space hippo and a ton of beautiful naked women. After Pelu’s sister gives birth to a baby, he learns about how babies are born on this alien planet and how he, as a puff ball, is unable to have one.

But Pelu longs for a baby and will not accept this predicament. So he runs away to the planet Earth in search of an ideal mate. What follows is a series of short episodes as Pelu pursues one screwed up Earth woman after another. Unfortunately, he always seems to be on the wrong end of the stick as all the girls either end up with some other dude, or die some horrible death. Oh, what’s a poor little fluffy gigolo to do!


Anime Review: UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie OVA Collection (Seasons 3 + 4)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

There’s a joke among the Twitter community that if an anime or manga series wants to get a good review out of me, all they would have to do is include a catgirl character. I do not deny the fact that catgirls are my one and only weakness when it comes to anime. They tend to be my favorite character in any series, from Kizuna in Candidate for Goddess to Koboshi in Pita Ten.  My love for this particular character type is the reason why my blog’s mascot is a catgirl herself.

So when I popped in the two-disc UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie OVA Collection into my video player, I was delighted to find out that not only was one of the main characters a catgirl, but she actually commanded an entire army of catgirls.

So needless to say, I absolutely loved this series.


Anime Mini-Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Premium OVA Collection

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

One of the reasons why FUNimation rose to power to become over a third of the entire American anime market is because they releases a number of the most popular anime titles in America. Dragonball Z, Afro Samurai, and of course, Fullmetal Alchemist.

The company has already released the first Fullmetal Alchemist TV series and movie, and they are currently simulcasting the brand new Brotherhood TV series with intentions of releasing it on DVD next year. But the franchise is so darn popular that the company decided to bite the bullet and license the 24 minute long Premium OVA Collection.

The collection contains four segments. The main segment, a mini-series entitled “Seven Homunculi vs. State Alchemist”, is the most interesting of the bunch. It puts the viewer in a first-person perspective of an aspiring state alchemist. You go through training and then you are suddenly thrown in battle along side Ed, Al, and the rest of the cast. First-person perspective is something that you’ll rarely find in anime, so I thought this was a very interesting take on the FMA universe.

The other three segments aren’t nearly as intriguing as the main one, but each has its own charms. The “Chibi Wrap Party” is a goofy skit of the FMA characters celebrating the completion of the FMA movie. “Kids” is a very heartwarming piece showing childish versions of Ed, Al, and Winry playing through out a city. And there’s a weird and surreal live action segment that shows a life-size statue of Al traveling through out Tokyo.

Sure, it’s just a collection of DVD extras, but each segment is very amusing and should entertain any fan of the series. And with a MSRP of only $15 (with some places selling it for under $10), I think it is a DVD worth adding to your FMA collection.

Anime Review: Rozen Maiden Traumend

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

When I looked at the back of the box for FUNimation’s rerelease of Rozen Maiden Traumend, I literally laughed out loud. Of all the good things that review sites have said about the series, they selected one quote in particular to write on the box:

“Very Enjoyable” –

Very enjoyable?

Very enjoyable is the type of thing that I would put in my review when I thought an anime or manga series was entertaining, but not necessarily all that great. For example, I’ve said that Venus Versus Virus and Venus Capriccio were both “enjoyable” series. So reading this quote on the back of the box read more to me like:

“Meh… it’s alright, I guess…”

But being a closeted fan of the manga artist group Peach Pit, I was very interested in seeing this series. So I popped in this 12 episode series to find out for myself that it was, in fact, very enjoyable.


Anime Review : Kaze no Stigma

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

So as I looked at the stack of new releases from FUNimation for this week, I reached a dilemma. I only have time to watch one series, and neither one of these selections particularly caught my interests. So I posed the question to my Tweet Peeps, the people who follow me on Twitter, “What should I review?”

“What’s Kaze no Stigma?”

“Hmm.. Kaze no Stigma sounds interesting.”

“Why don’t you check out Kaze?”

The consensus was pretty clear. I have never watched Kaze no Stigma or have even heard about it up until now. But then again, it looked like neither had most of my Tweet Peeps. So I popped in the series completely blind about what it was or what to expect.

And unfortunately, I found out that maybe there was a reason why I have never heard of this before… (-_-)


Anime Review: Romeo x Juliet

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

When FUNimation ran their “Sneak Preview” panel at AnimeNEXT weeks ago, their centerpiece was a new title from studio Gonzo called Romeo x Juliet (pronounced “Romeo and Juliet”). In this Youtube clip, FUNi rep Adam Sheehan describes the unique dub that they did for this series:

An English dub consisting of actual lines of Shakespeare and next episode previews written in iambic pentameter? That sounded interesting.

And so he showed off two clips from the show, and sure enough, the dub did appear quite impressive. Many people in the audience left the panel eager to see more of this show and its unique dub.

So now that I’ve had a chance to watch the series, does it live up to the hype surrounding it?

Well, yes, but not in the ways that I thought it would.


Anime Review: Venus Versus Virus

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

You know, for being called The Anime Almanac, I sure haven’t been showcasing a lot of anime as of late. The last anime review I did was of the first Lucky Star DVD from over a year ago. The last time I even directly talked about any anime show in particular was my analysis of Haré + Guu. Since then, I’ve been either writing editorials or con reports, or I’ve been reviewing manga and video games.

That’s why I am so glad that FUNimation stepped in and answered my call for anime review material. And boy, did they ever! They literally sent over more anime my way then I’ll ever have time to go over! So for my first of many weekly anime reviews, I selected the 13-episode horror/action series, Venus Versus Virus, a rescue title from ADV.